Fulham and West Ham have proved over the last few seasons that despite not being top-six sides they can still attract top talent to their respective clubs. Steve Marlet and Freddie Kanoute are good examples.
Steve Marlet might have cost the Cottagers £11.5 million when he joined them from Lyon but last week he played for world champions France and scored one of their five strikes. The fact that he is getting in the French side ahead of players like Nicolas Anelka suggests that the huge sum paid for him could turn out to be a stable long-term investment by Jean Tigana.
Marlet has fired off 41 shots this season and can point to the fact that he has hit the target with over half of them and has scored with almost one in 8 of his efforts. He certainly knows how to keep opposing defences and keepers busy. He has also set up three goals for team-mates this season illustrating that his work around the box is not solely to create shooting opportunities for himself.
Likewise, Kanoute works hard for the team and has set up two strikes and made 25 key passes - passes that lead to a clear scoring chance - and his pace, control and drive always make him a handful for whoever is trying to mark him.
Unfortunately, Kanoute has fired off over half a century of shots and has watched just 32% of them hit the target and for a player of his quality you really expect him to make the opposing keeper work a bit harder. However, 16% of his shots have ended up in the back of the net and that return is above average for the top flight, so it appears that he doesn't hit the target as often as he should but when Kanoute does it is quite regularly a very good shot.
A West Ham scout once said of Kanoute "He's wanted by every club in France. Juventus and AC Milan were also interested. He is pure quality." With both Marlet and Kanoute coming to the Premiership from Lyon there appears to be a true renaissance of French talent and if West Ham and Fulham are to do more than just survive in the top flight then it's players like this that the fans and management will be looking to.